India is experiencing an unprecedented rise in the number of breast cancer cases across all sections of society. Unfortunately India also has one of the worst survival rates in the world, ranking highest for total number of women dying from breast cancer, and also for the number of healthy life years lost to the disease. Early detection and treatment is critical for improving survival rates. CRS organised two community awareness events on 23rd and 29th August. 42 women from BD Colony and 52 women from Dum Dum gathered to find out about more. Presentations were given by representatives from Hittaishini, a voluntary breast cancer support network whose members are all breast cancer survivors. The key message of the day was that breast cancer is not the end of the road.
CRS has taken delivery of a new 4×4 vehicle thanks to a generous donation from Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, the leading oil and gas company in India. It will be used as a mobile medical van for the health programme, allowing CRS health teams to visit different locations in both the city and rural areas, and also carry medical supplies to replenish clinics. The vehicle was officially handed over in early April with the Bishop of Kolkata and other members of the CRS Executive Committee in attendance.
Men, women and children in the slum community of Bibibagan lined up on 15th March to have their teeth examined and learn about the importance of dental health. The dental camp, offering free check-ups for underprivileged people, was funded by Larsen and Toubro, the Indian company that has been supporting a number of CRS activities as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility programme. After receiving a check-up and advice on improving dental health, participants were given an oral hygiene pack to take home. It is hoped that they will share what they learned about looking after their teeth with family and friends.
The portico of St Paul’s Cathedral in Kolkata was converted into a makeshift clinic on 15th March as volunteers lined up to donate blood and help save the lives of others. The event was organised by Life Care Bank in collaboration with CRS and supported by the Indian company Larsen & Toubro. In total over 100 people attended, 60 of whom were eligible to give blood. Donors rested on lines of beds and recovered afterwards with tea or glucose water; they were also given food packets and a small token of appreciation from Larsen & Toubro.
Poverty, illiteracy and lack of education can leave many people without basic knowledge to live safe and healthy lives. CRS regularly organises community-based sessions to raise awareness about different aspects of physical and mental health, sanitation and hygiene, so that people can improve their personal and household practices. 25 adolescent girls and women from the Sukantanagar community gathered on 10th February for one of these awareness programmes on “Reproductive and Child Health”. The event was led by Dr Prasenjit Saha who works within the Maternity and Child Welfare Department of a government hospital. During the session, the women learned about pre-natal and post-natal care including what to do and what to avoid doing during pregnancy, the importance of timely check-ups, good nutrition, hygiene and immunisation.